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US Coast Guard

US Coast Guard repatriates 27 Cuban migrants

MIAMI, Mar. 19, CMC – The United States Coast Guard says the Cutter Charles Sexton repatriated 27 Cuban migrants Friday to Bahia de Cabañas, Cuba.

US Coast GuardThe Coast Guard said the repatriation was the result of a migrant interdiction near Key Largo last Sunday.

The Coast Guard said it “helped secure the US border and prevent this sea voyage from ending in tragedy.”

“We discourage anyone from taking to the sea and attempting to reach US soil illegally – they are risking their lives with very little chance of success,” said Captain Aldante Vinciguerra, chief of response for the Coast Guard 7th District.

It is estimated that 1,951 Cubans have attempted to illegally migrate to the US via the maritime environment since January 1, compared to 7,411 Cubans in fiscal year 2016.

The Coast Guard says these numbers represent the total number of at-sea interdictions, landings and disruptions in the Florida Straits, the Caribbean and Atlantic.

Posted in International, Local, News, Police, Politics, Regional, Travel0 Comments

Dr. Orlando Smith

Premier calls for overseas help in crime fight

TORTOLA, British Virgin Islands , Mar. 19, CMC – Premier Dr Orlando Smith has vowed to leave no stone unturned as security officials in this British Overseas territory deal with an upsurge in crime.

In a recent press release, Smith said that if necessary, overseas help sought be sought and highly trained cops should be pulled from retirement.

Dr. Orlando Smith
Dr. Orlando Smith

“No stone should be left unturned in bringing the perpetrators to justice of all crimes, and particularly the heinous crimes that have been committed in this territory. If this calls for bringing in assistance from abroad, let’s do so immediately.”

The Premier’s resolve follows a directive issued by Governor John Duncan late Friday in which he used his constitutional power to force the Government to add US$800,000 to the police budget for this financial year.

The government, in its budget had allocated US$161 million to the Royal Virgin Islands Police Force.

Duncan, told journalists that he was reluctant to resort to his constitutional power, but said the police force is currently under funded at a time when crime is a big concern.

Governor John Duncan
Governor John Duncan

The Governor’s announcement has been endorsed by the Premier.

“Yes, we must provide the police with financial resources. In addition, the Commissioner (of Police) and the Force must continue to be innovative and creative in carrying out their duties….” He said.

However, a member of the main opposition Virgin Islands Party (VIP),Julian Fraser – said the order issued by Duncan has set the territory back in its constitutional advancement.

“I didn’t think the day would come when I would see a governor exercise a monarchical take-over of our Treasury. This is what I call a soft takeover of the democratically elected Smith government. The governor was wrong and he has to be stopped,” Fraser said in a post on his Facebook page.

According to Fraser, who the governor recently removed as opposition leader – the Governor should stay out of “our local politics”

“He has the Protocols for Effective Financial Management to hold the government accountable with. That is an administrative arrangement between the Foreign and Commonwealth Office and the Government of the Virgin Islands to keep the government frugal in its financial affairs,” Fraser noted.

Since the start of the year three persons have been murdered across the territory – with two being murdered in less tan 24 hours.

According to police statistics, last year, four people were murdered and 18 gun robberies were reported.

Posted in Buisness/Economy/Banking, Crime, International, Legal, Local, News, Police, Politics0 Comments

derek Walcotts

Nobel Laureate, Sir Derek Walcott, dies

By Ernie Seon

CASTRIES, St. Lucia, Mar 17, CMC – The St Lucia born poet and playwright, Sir Derek Walcott, who received the Nobel Prize for Literature in 1992, and had the distinction of bringing the history and culture of the Caribbean people to the attention of a global community died on Friday. He was 87.

He was one of two St. Lucians to have received the prestigious Nobel Prize, following Sir Arthur Lewis, who won the award for economics in 1979.

“When everyone speaks about excellence in St. Lucia and describe St. Lucia with any kind of superlatives, clearly the two names that stand tall in St. Lucia’s history are those of Sir Arthur Lewis and Sir Derek Walcott,” said Prime Minister Allen Chastanet as he led the island in paying tribute to the gifted cultural icon.

derek Walcotts
Sir Derek Walcott

Sir Derek Alton Walcott, died at his home at Cap Estate, north of here, and had been ailing for some time and had been on a dialysis machine, a family source said.

He had recently been released from hospital and passed away peacefully with his family at his bedside.

“While he and I may not have agreed on everything, he was always very consistent and very emotional about being Caribbean and being original,” Chastanet, said describing Sir Derek as someone who always participated in many national events.

 “He continued to fly the flag real high,” Chastanet said, adding “we can now sit back and reflect on his achievements which are so incredible”.

The St. Lucia government has ordered all fly flags to be flown at half mast, at least until Tuesday.

“I am in discussion with his wife, his partner, Sigrid and also in discussion with the artistic community here in St. Lucia of what other tributes we can pay to this icon of a man,” Chastanet said.

Caribbean Community (CARICOM) Secretary General Irwin LaRocque tweeted that Walcott was “a Caribbean treasure” while the sub-regional Organisation of Eastern Caribbean States (OECS) said that Walcott’s “soul will forever live on through his body of award-winning literary works”.

OECS Chairman and St. Kitts-Nevis Prime Minister Dr. Timothy Harris said that Walcott weas awarded the Nobel Prize in 1992 “for a poetic oeuvre of great luminosity, sustained by a historical vision, the outcome of a multicultural commitment.

“Sir Walcott’s poetry was a reflection of his deep commitment to his country and the Caribbean, as it masterfully captured the physical beauty of his milieu.  It was this idyllic social environment that he gravitated towards throughout his life, choosing to spend much of his time in his homeland of St. Lucia where he died today at the age of 87.”

Dominican-born playwright Dr. Alwyn Bully, whose theatre company had produced many of Walcott’s plays, described him “as one of the greatest writers of the world.

“I think he also had the distinction of bringing the history and culture of the cari8bbean people to the attention of literacy circles worldwide, Bully said, adding that Walcott had encouraged many other playwrights.

“He will be solely missed by the entire Caribbean, but his work will endure forever,” Bully said.

The international media reported Friday that Walcott’s monumental poetry, including 1973’s verse autobiography, Another Life, and his Caribbean reimagining of The Odyssey, 1990’s Omeros, “secured him an international reputation which gained him the Nobel Prize in 1992.”

But this was matched by a theatrical career conducted mostly in the islands of his birth as a director and writer with more than 80 plays to his credit.

He won the TS Eliot Prize for Poetry in 2011. His winning collection for the TS Eliot Prize, White Egrets, was called “a moving, risk-taking and technically flawless book by a great poet” by the judges.

“The arts fraternity, St. Lucia and the world has lost one of its noted literary icons, Sir Derek Walcott,” the Cultural Development Foundation (CDF) here said in a statement, noting that “he was very vocal about the island’s culture and heritage and its preservation and his love for Saint Lucia and the Caribbean was evident in his numerous mentions of “home” in his work.

Walcott was born on January 23, 1930 in the capital, Castries and he had acknowledged that the experience of growing up on the isolated volcanic island, an ex-British colony, has had a strong influence on Walcott’s life and work.

Both his grandmothers were said to have been the descendants of slaves. His father, a Bohemian watercolourist, died when Derek and his twin brother, Roderick, were only a few years old. His mother ran the town’s Methodist school.

After studying at St. Mary’s College here and at the University of the West Indies (UWI) in Jamaica, Walcott moved in 1953 to Trinidad, where he worked as theatre and art critic. At the age of 18, he made his debut with 25 Poems, but his breakthrough came with the collection of poems, In a Green Night (1962).

In 1959, he founded the Trinidad Theatre Workshop which produced many of his early plays.

For many years, he has divided his time between Trinidad, where he had his home as a writer, and Boston University, where he taught literature and creative writing.

His illustrious body of work includes: Three Plays: The Last Carnival; Beef, No Chicken and A Branch of the Blue Nile (1969), Dream on Monkey Mountain and Other Plays (1970), The Joker of Seville and O Babylon! (1978), Remembrance and Pantomime (1980), The Isle is Full of Noises (1982), Omeros (1990) and The Odyssey: A Stage Version (1992).

Walcott received numerous awards including a Royal Society of Literature Award, the Queen’s medal of Poetry and a MacArthur Foundation genius award.  In 2016, as part of Independence celebrations, he was given the title of “Sir”, one of the first to be knighted under the Order of St. Lucia.

Sir Derek Walcott, is survived by three children Peter, Elizabeth, and Anna.

State funeral for Sir Derek Walcott

The St. Lucia government Tuesday announced that the Nobel Laureate Sir Derek Alton Walcott, will be given a state funeral on Saturday.

State funerals are usually reserved for heads of state and governments, but the Allen Chastanet government approved of the decision on Monday in light of Walcott’s exceptional contribution to the literary and artistic legacy of St.Lucia, the Caribbean and the world.

The funeral of Sir Derek poet, artist, playwright, and 1992 Nobel Laureate in Literature, will take place at the Basilica of the Immaculate Conception in the capital starting at 2.00 pm (local time) and his body will lie in state at the Parliament for public viewing ahead of the service that will be broadcast live and shown on television screens at the nearby Square that bears Walcott’s name.

Sir Derek will be buried at Morne Fortune, near the Inniskilling Monument, a site vested in the St. Lucia National Trust and within close proximity of fellow Nobel Laureate, Sir Arthur Lewis.

A government statement noted that an evening of tribute and celebration will be held on Friday at the National Cultural Centre hosted by the Cultural Development Foundation and will include readings, recitations and performances by local and visiting artists, writers and musicians.

Posted in Announcements/Greetings, International, Local, News, Obituaries, Regional0 Comments

Antoine ECCB

ECCB Governor predicts “modest profit” after years of losses

BASSETERRE, St. Kitts, Mar 16, CMC – The Governor of the Eastern Caribbean Central Bank (ECCB), Timothy Antoine, says the financial institution is poised to make a modest profit at the end of this fiscal year, after three years of losses.

 “As of now, the bank is making a profit. We expect that we would make a small profit at the end of this fiscal year, after three years of losses, and we have every expectations and plans to increase the profitability of the bank going forward,” said Antoine, who took over from the late Sir Dwight Venner in February last year.

Antoine ECCB
Timothy Antoine

Speaking on a current affairs programme hosted by the St. Kitts-based ECCB that serves as a Central Bank for Antigua and Barbuda, Dominica, Grenada, St. Lucia, St. Vincent and the Grenadines, St. Kitts-Nevis and Montserrat, Antoine said he felt “very encouraged by the progress we’ve made in my first year.

“Much of what we’ve set out to do was accomplished” said the Grenadian-born economist, adding that he is satisfied with the maintenance of a strong Eastern Caribbean (EC) dollar.

“We have maintained the strength of our EC Dollar which is exchange rate stability. Throughout the last year, the currency was backed an average 97 per cent in some cases 98 but on average 97 per cent. So on that score we continue to maintain a strong dollar.”

Antoine had outlined a four four–pillar vision for the Eastern Caribbean Currency Union (ECCU) and the ECCB on upon assuming office. They were financial stability, fiscal and debt sustainability, growth competitiveness and Employment and organizational effectiveness.

Antoine said he is pleased that the ECCB was able to maintain a strong EC dollar to improve financial stability in the sub–region.

“We were able to resolve two trouble banks in Anguilla and as a result we now have the National Commercial Bank of Anguilla and that is making steady progress.”

“We’ve also seen across the currency Union, improvement in the performance of our national banks and our international banks; whether you look at capital adequacy or you look at profitability, we saw improvement.”

Antoine said there was also improvement in asset quality measured by non-performing loans “which fell from a high of 17 per cent at the end of 2015 to around 12 and a half per cent at the end of 2016.”

There have also been improvements in the fiscal accounts, Antoine said.

“I am pleased to note that we have seen improvement in the fiscal accounts. Many of our governments were able to earn primary surpluses this last year and overall there was an improvement in the fiscal accounts.

“We have also seen a reduction in the debt to GDP (gross domestic product) ratio for several of our countries…we’re down from 76 per cent to 75 there about…it is slight but it’s moving in the right direction.”

“That’s an important target for us…we’re trying to get to a debt to GDP ratio of 60 percent by 2030.”

However the ECCB Governor said the period was not without its challenges and the major challenge was with it pillar for growth, competitiveness and employment.

“I think at the moment we recorded 2 to 2.5 per cent growth in 2016. That is not bad but not good enough,” the governor said, adding that “we want to be at 5 per cent per annum or more.”

“So that remains a challenge but what we did in the first year was to build a foundation for how we are going to…attempt to raise the trajectory of growth.”

Antoine said there are a number of initiatives that the bank will be taking in the coming year to address the issue of growth and competitiveness.

He said he is looking forward to the establishment of the partial credit guarantee scheme, the ECCU Credit Bureau and more opportunities for access to finance for youth. During his second year on the job.

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Phillipe Ardanaz

Treaty signed to define maritime space with French territories

ST. JOHN’S, Antigua, Mar. 16, CMC – A treaty to solidify negotiations with the Republic of France to define the maritime space between Antigua and Barbuda and neighbouring French territories, was signed by government officials on Wednesday.

The treaty establishes the outer limits of Antigua & Barbuda’s jurisdiction from where the Exclusive Economic Zone (EEZ) ends, its use, and exploration and exploitation of the Atlantic Ocean in respect to Guadeloupe and Saint Barthelemy.

It also embraces the interests of local fishermen and seafarers who now have a clearer understanding of the delineation of boundaries, thereby enabling both governments to rectify the common issue.

Phillipe Ardanaz
Phillipe Ardanaz

“It is also the first step to manage the problems we may have between our fishermen; obviously, it is never easy to know if you are in French waters or Antiguan waters,” said Ambassador to the OECS Member States and Barbados, Phillipe Ardanaz, who signed the treaty.

Meanwhile, Prime Minister Gaston Browne said his administration recognises the need for adopting a ‘Blue Economy’ approach to development and is currently looking at ways to develop the nation’s oceanic resources.

“That is a significant amount of resources for us to harness, in fact it is almost 200 times our land space. My understanding is that within the next 40 years, it will be very difficult to find sufficient land space in order to produce sufficient food to sustain the global population,” Browne said.

The prime minister added that possessing a large EEZ provides the opportunity to satisfy seafood demand and suggested the twin island is capable of harvesting in the region of 10,000 tonnes of fish and fish products each year.

“As it stands now, fresh fish and fish products are relatively outside the means of the ordinary Antiguan and Barbudan, but as we continue to invest more resources in the ‘Blue Economy’ in fisheries, we will see an increase in supply and therefore that should help to drive down the cost.”

The Prime Minister said this treaty delineates an essential area in the Atlantic waters that will ensure there are no disputes over maritime space with the country’s neighbours.

The signing of the agreement follows the Eastern Caribbean Ocean Policy (ECROP) declaration for OECS members to formalise maritime boundaries in securing rights protection and jurisdiction over marine areas.

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Rowley KK

Trinidad PM supports death penalty

PORT OF SPAIN, Trinidad, Mar 16, CMC – Prime Minister Dr, Keith Rowley Thursday said he supports the death penalty and that his administration is working towards having it implemented as it moves to deal with those citizens bent on committing murder ‘with impunity” in Trinidad and Tobago.

Rowley, speaking at the end of the weekly Cabinet news conference, told reporters that “this fight against the criminal element is a national crusade” and urged the public to assist the police in carrying out their investigations.

Rowley KK
Prime Minister Dr. Keith Rowley

“This just require that we stay on the job and do what is required. There are people in this country who has chosen crime as a way of life,” he said, adding that “we are being traumatised by a very small minority and we are going to take the best chance in law to protect us”.

Rowley said that even when people are incarcerated “they are running criminal empires from inside the jail and we are going to take steps to ensure that this does not go on”.

He told reporters he does not care whatever the backlash could be from his position but he wanted to make it abundantly clear that he is a “firm believer in capital punishment.

“It is the punishment for the crime,” he said, noting that “it is my view that people acting with impunity that nothing will happen” when they commit the crimes including murder.

Rowley said that the Attorney General Faris Al Rawi has set up in his office the mechanism to monitor persons who have been convicted of murder and is moving to ensure that they pay the penalty keeping in mind the Pratt and Morgan ruling of the Privy Council that persons on death row for more than five years can’t be executed.

Despite Trinidad and Tobago hosting the Caribbean Court of Justice (CCJ), the oil rich twin island republic still uses the London-based court as its final court.

Rowley said that former attorney general Ramesh Lawrence Maharaj is also assisting the government so that “persons of recent vintage (convicted of murder) will pay the ultimate penalty”.

Rowley said that his administration is providing all the necessary resources to the security forces to deal with the crime situation here and reiterated a call for the law abiding public to help the police in their investigation.

Rowley said there were some people who were bent on committing crime not as a result, for instance of having lost their jobs, but who believe that it is their right to take lives and property from other nationals.

The last execution in Trinidad and Tobago occurred on July 28, 1999 when Anthony Briggs was hanged after being convicted for the August 1992 murder of a taxi driver, Siewdath Ramkissoon during a robbery in August 1992.

Briggs was hanged just over a month after the members of the Dole Chadee gang were hanged over a three-day period.

Dole Chadee, Joey Ramiah and Ramkelawan Singh were executed on June 4, 1999, while Clive Thomas, Robin Gopaul and Russell Sankeralli were hanged on June 5, 1999.

On June 7, 1999 Joel Ramsingh, Steve Eversley and Bagwandeen Singh were hanged.

The Chadee gang were hanged for their involvement in the murder of the Baboolal family in 1994.

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Portia Simpson Miller

Simpson Miller bids farewell and urges government to reverse tax package

KINGSTON, Jamaica, Mar. 16, CMC – Leader of the main opposition People’s National Party (PNP), Portia Simpson Miller added her voice to others who have called on the Andrew Holness administration to reverse the J$13.5 billion (One Jamaica dollar =US$0.008 cents) tax package announced by Finance Minister Audley Shaw.

Portia Simpson Miller “This is “tax-perity” gone wild, said Simpson Miller as she made her final contribution to the 2017/2018 budget debate as opposition leader on Thursday .

She accused the government of taxing group health insurance and fuel, among other things.

“The people were promised no new taxes to implement the $1.5 million tax threshold. Yet in only 12 months the people have been devastated with over $29 billion in new and unnecessary taxes to finance the so-called give back,” adding that “the administration’s version of prosperity is a fleeting illusion to be pursued but never attained.”

“It is the reckless political promises that were made that has caused us to be at this point today. We warned that if the tax threshold was lifted, you would have had to impose new taxes on the backs of the people – that’s what we said. This is what is now happening. Now hundreds of thousands of Jamaicans will have to pay even though they will not benefit.

They will have to bear the costs of your recklessness – this could have been avoided. It is the biggest political trick to have ever been perpetrated on the Jamaican people,” she said.

The former Prime also expressed disappointment at an election promise made by Holness that crime will be addressed.

“I am disappointed that after one year in office, this Government has not delivered the promised crime plan, this is clearly not good enough.

“I am expecting that when the Prime Minister speaks next week, he will announce more resources for our security and intelligence teams to outmatch, outwit and out maneuver the criminals.”

She noted that social issues are the “root cause” of crime and violence and insisted that “every single Jamaican has a vested interest in the fight to defeat the spiraling crime”.

On the issue of crime and women, the opposition leader called for the increased protection of women.

“If necessary, we need to establish a committee with persons from both sides and meet with security forces to see what is causing so many murders in the country. It had seized, but it is rising again. Too many of our women are being murdered and it’s disheartening…too many have been victims of domestic abuse, rape and murder. We are now at a point of crisis.”

Simpson Miller who also reflected on her legacy, said the moment was “bitter sweet”.

“I’ve seen the good, the bad, the happy and the sad, but above all I’ve had an incredible journey of service to my beloved people and country. Empowering and uplifting the people has been central to me…from the poor and dispossessed to the rich and the powerful. I remain as convinced today as I was 43 years ago that beyond racial origins we must believe in ourselves and our common destiny when we work together.”

The former Prime Minister who was lauded, not only by members of the opposition PNP, but legislators from the Jamaica Labour Party said that she will never stop believing “in the potential of the Jamaica people and their capacity for greatness…I have always believed that it is the people who have the ultimate power not us. It is on their behalf and in their interest that we must always exercise power.

She will step down as opposition leader on April 2, paving the way for the ascent of Dr. Peter Phillips.

Posted in Crime, International, Local, News, Police, Regional0 Comments

Dennie Warren Jr

Government urged to cultivate marijuana

GEORGE TOWN, Cayman Islands, Mar. 16, CMC – The Government of the Cayman Islands is being urged to cultivate marijuana locally.

The call came from local activist Dennie Warren Jr. who was central to the campaign that led to the legalization of extracts from marijuana in 2016.

Dennie Warren Jr
Dennie Warren Jr

At the first ever Cannabis Conference to held here on Wednesday, Warren said the local cultivation of the drug would eliminate the supply chain problems and create an industry in the British Overseas territory.

Warren, whose wife if suffering from lung cancer, outlined some of the challenges as it relates to treating her as well as the battles with government bureaucrats.

The Cayman News Service quotes Warren as saying that “There were some fierce adversaries” in his fight for the use of the drug.

Warren also made reference to Jamaica, and explained that medicinal cannabis oil has been identified in the neighbouring island but it has taken many months to get the necessary import permit.

He said the final hurdle is the export permit from Jamaica, but he believes the issue is on track and “the oil could be here in a matter of weeks”.

Last November the Misuse of Drugs Law was amended, allowing medical doctors to prescribe cannabis extracts or tinctures for therapeutic purposes.

However, the law does not allow for production of the products in the Cayman Islands.

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Michael Heseltine

Brexit on the move!

May ‘will ask EU to pay back our £9bn’

Tim Shipman | Bojan Pancevski in Brussels

March 12 2017, The Sunday Times

Theresa May will call on Brussels to hand back £9bn of UK assets held by an EU bank when she fires the Brexit starting gun — dramatically cutting Britain’s final bill.

Senior government sources say that when the prime minister triggers article 50, she will point out that Britain is entitled to the return of funds held by the European Investment Bank (EIB).

Legal advice circulating in Whitehall — seen by The Sunday Times — says that not only is the government not legally obliged to pay Brussels a penny, but the EU should pay Britain for its share of the funds in the EIB.

That will allow May to argue that EU demands for Britain to pay €60bn — about £53bn — in contributions to the EU budget and money to plug the deficit in its own pension scheme is ­unacceptable.

The prime minister will kick-start two years of negotiations as early as Tuesday by sending a letter to Brussels spelling out her demands. It will make clear that the UK will take control of money, immigration and laws, after the referendum last June.

Ministers are confident they can dramatically reduce the size of any Brexit bill to something more politically palatable.

The legal opinion concludes the demand for payments into the EU budget is “wholly without merit in law” and that it is “hard to see any credible basis upon which the UK could be said to be obliged” to pay for the pensions.

It argues: “The UK on EU exit is entitled to the return of its paid-up capital and indeed to a corresponding share of the accumulated reserves of the EIB.” The UK has a 16% share of the €63.3bn capital of the bank, amounting to €10.1bn.

The legal opinion, which has been passed to the Department for Exiting the European Union (Dexeu), was written by Martin Howe, a leading Tory barrister who is close to Boris Johnson and David Davis.

It concludes: “Overall the UK should be entitled on exit to a net payment in its favour, corresponding to the value of its capital invested in the EIB.”

Ministers expect the UK to keep paying for membership of some EU schemes, such as the Erasmus education programme, but a senior government source said Britain’s potential withdrawal from the bank would give the government leverage to drive a hard bargain.

“Their infrastructure investments are predicated on our contribution,” a Whitehall source said. “That’s one of the things they are worried about.”

A source familiar with deliberations over the letter said: “The PM will be saying the British people voted to take back control of their money. There’s absolutely no way you can sell to the British people we’re leaving Europe but we’re going to pay £50bn.

“If you leave a sports club where you’ve paid an entry fee for years, you don’t keep paying when you leave so other people can use the facilities.”

But a senior EU negotiator made clear that a row over the money is likely. While there was “great political will on both sides” to settle the issue of recognising the rights of citizens living in each other’s countries, the Brexit bill could turn “poisonous” and “derail the talks”, the source warned.

“Nothing will move forward before Britain pledges to honour its commitments,” the negotiator said. “You cannot compare the EU to a golf club, or to a pub. It’s dangerous to play with this. It’s poisonous and it can derail the talks, and yet the UK government seems to keep digging.”

Ministers are encouraging May to use her planned statement in the Commons on Tuesday, on last week’s EU summit, to announce that she is triggering article 50.

Several were cancelling foreign trips after being warned by Tory whips that the House of Lords is set to drop opposition to the legislation mandating the prime minister to proceed tomorrow.

Last night Davis appealed for MPs and peers to back down. “However they voted in the referendum, the majority of people now want the prime minister to be able to get on with the job,” he said. “By a majority of four to one, MPs passed straightforward legislation allowing the government to move ahead with no strings attached.

“I will be asking MPs to send the legislation back to the House of Lords in its original form so we can start building a global Britain and a strong new partnership with the EU.”

Speaking on the BBC’s Andrew Marr Show this morning, he added: “Please don’t tie the Prime Minister’s hands in the process of doing that for things which we expect to attain anyway.”

He added that the government was working on a contingency plan in case Britain leaves the EU without a deal. “The aim is to get a good outcome and I’m confident I’ll get a good outcome,” he said. “One of the reasons we don’t talk about the contingency plan too much is we don’t want people to think this is what we are trying to do.”

Senior government sources say that if May does not fire the starting gun on Tuesday, she might wait until the week of March 27, to avoid clashing with the Dutch elections, the Scottish National Party’s conference next weekend and the 60th anniversary of the Treaty of Rome the following week.

Lord Heseltine, who led Tory attempts to amend the Brexit legislation, signalled that he is now prepared to let the article 50 bill pass but warned that he and other peers would seek to amend the forthcoming Great Repeal Bill, which will formalise the break with Brussels to prevent a hard Brexit.

Declaring that “the fightback starts here”, Heseltine launched an outspoken attack on “Brexiteer fanatics . . . sitting on the government front bench”, accusing them of winning the referendum with “a shamelessly false prospectus”.

Countdown to leaving

  • Tomorrow Bill mandating Theresa May to trigger article 50 of the EU treaty expected to clear parliament
  • Tuesday The prime minister gives statement in the Commons. She could announce she is sending a letter to Brussels to start two years of EU exit talks
  • Within 48 hours European Council is expected to send its first official response to Britain’s demands
  • April 6 The other 27 leaders and the two EU presidents meet to finalise a common negotiating position
  • May 7 A new French president elected, clearing the way for negotiations to begin in earnest
  • March 2019 Britain is expected to leave the EU. If a deal has not been done, then transitional arrangements for trade and other matters could be put in place

Ministers rebuked over dereliction of duty
Ministers have been accused by a cross-party group of MPs of failing to have a contingency plan if the UK cannot reach a deal with the EU on the terms of Brexit.

Article 50 is expected to be triggered this week, meaning the UK will leave in two years’ time, deal or no deal.

The Commons foreign affairs committee said it would be a “dereliction of duty” if the UK left the EU with no preparation.

Crispin Blunt, the Tory MP who chairs the committee, said: “The possibility of ‘no deal’ is real enough to require the government to plan how to deal with it. But there is no evidence to indicate that this is receiving the consideration it deserves.”

Menace, the PM’s Brexit weapon of choice

It is the moment those who always believed Albion was perfidious have been waiting for. The rebate conceded to Margaret Thatcher at the…

March 12 2017



I’ve had my marching orders but I can’t let us sleepwalk into Brexit

The government will very soon trigger article 50, the start of Britain’s exit process from the EU. Yet enormous uncertainties persist that demand…


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Union rejects LIAT’s salary deferral system

ST. JOHN’s, Antigua, Mar. 16, CMC – The General Secretary of the Antigua and Barbuda Workers Union (ABWU) David Massiah has warned that any unilateral position to institute a salary deferral system for workers at the regional carrier LIAT – will not be accepted.

liatHis warning was made as the management of the Antigua based airline continues to disagree with what is s aid to be moves to impose the stance on LIAT employees.

“This position will not be accepted and we will do everything in our power to demonstrate our strong opposition to a salary deferral system,” he said.

Both sides have been discussing the proposal for increased wages which was first presented to the unions last week, with the LIAT indicating it’s decision to implement the system without the group’s approval.

But on Thursday, the ABWU General Secretary in reiterating his stance, noted that  the unions met with LIAT in February but had not discussed the airlines finances.

He added that a few days after, he was invited to talk about the carrier’s financial problems and the planned deferral system.

“Any unilateral position to institute the salary deferral system will result in us taking whatever appropriate action that we seem fit,” Massiah declared.

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Important Notice